MORAY Council has set out how it will deliver a £17.5m expansion of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) in the area.
The delivery plan outlines the refurbishment of local authority nurseries and plans for new nurseries in Buckie and Keith, as part of the Scottish Government-funded increase to 1,140 hours a year ELC for three and four year-olds and eligible two year-olds.
The most significant change to council nursery provision is the flexibility of hours, which parents can use between 8am-6pm in school nurseries, and sessions can be between three and 10 hours long all year-round in nurseries where there is a demand.
Acting Corporate Director (Education and Social Care), Graham Jarvis, said the expansion is an "exciting prospect" for Moray.
"This gives us the opportunity to really modernise our delivery of early learning and childcare.
"We, and the Scottish Government, recognise that affordable childcare is a barrier to many parents being able to get back to work or further education, so providing a more flexible service can alleviate some of the strain on family budgets while ensuring that our youngest learners are gaining confidence and skills to prepare them for their future."
A number of new central posts are being created to support the expansion including an early years officer, continuous improvement officers, early year social worker, family support workers, ASN support staff and 12 peripatetic teachers available for all nurseries and childminders to support the curriculum work.
Recruitment campaigns have been ongoing and the next event to take place will be at the St Giles Centre, Elgin, tomorrow from 9.30am-1pm.
The roll-out of the ELC expansion will continue to be phased in until 2020. Parents can find out in which phase their postcode will become eligible for the increased hours at www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_116586.html